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Double-digit growth in autos, TEUs at ports

POSTED: October 8, 2012 8:45 p.m.

The Georgia Ports Authority announced Monday that the authority posted increases across all reporting categories for the first two months of fiscal year 2013.


At its Oct. 8 meeting, the GPA board heard a report from Executive Director Curtis Foltz detailing 5.6 percent growth in tonnage across July and August, with 13.8 percent growth in total TEUs for the month of August. That’s an increase of 240,000 tons over the same two months in FY2012.


“Our deepwater ports achieved a good start for fiscal year 2013, despite a slow national economy,” Foltz said. “The ports of Savannah and Brunswick have established solid momentum to start our fiscal year, which translates into increased jobs and economic opportunities throughout our region.”


The port of Savannah handled 522,744 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) over the first nine weeks of the fiscal year, for a growth of 4.4 percent. August accounted for 270,614 TEUs, the GPA’s second-highest month for TEUs, behind only October 2010.


In tandem with the strong growth in tonnage, GPA rail cargo also saw a boost in numbers. Growth in intermodal activity was significant during August, and led to a record month, handling 29,364 intermodal rail moves.


“Greater reliance on rail movement is a strategic initiative of the GPA, allowing the Port of Savannah to increase capacity without putting more trucks on the road,” said GPA Board Chairman Robert Jepson. “Rail transit is cheaper for long-distance hauls, requires less fuel and produces fewer emissions.”


The Port of Brunswick also saw tremendous growth on the fiscal year to date, achieving 48.4 percent growth in total tonnage for the month of August (at 199,141 tons), and 30.2 percent growth on the fiscal year to date. Colonel’s Island terminal in Brunswick moved 109,694 auto and machinery units in July and August, an increase of 37 percent over the same period in FY2012.


In addition to record growth at the GPA, the board reviewed and approved new projects. At Brunswick’s East River terminal, the board approved spending $750,000 to remove fuel pier structures and construct a new mooring dolphin — uprights extending out into the harbor to provide mooring points for vessels calling at the Lanier Dock. The renovations are in support of biomass exports used for alternative energy sources.


In FY2012, East River Terminal experienced a 14 percent increase in cargo tonnage, handling commodities such as peanut hull pellets, and wood pellets and chips.


“Customers such as FRAM Renewable Fuels and the Golden Peanut Company rely on Brunswick to efficiently move nearly half a million metric tons overseas each year, largely to European markets,” said Foltz. “With new business from Daewoo and Sega Bio to add 300,000 metric tons of wood chips and pellets by the end of 2012, our infrastructure must be ready to handle the added demand.”


The board also approved a $1.33 million project to extend an energy-saving lighting system to container berths 7, 8 and 9 in Savannah. Similar infrastructure has been installed at berths 4, 5 and 6, resulting in a 59 percent reduction in energy consumption, significantly reducing light pollution, emissions and costs. Similar impacts are expected in CB7, 8 and 9. GPA engineers said the construction contract will be awarded by the end of November.

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